Dis­trib­uted lead­er­ship in el­e­men­tary

Panay News - - REGION -  By Ber­nadette Villanueva, T-III, Maayon El­e­men­tary School

EVERY high- qual­ity pub­lic school bears in their heart great lead­er­ship. It is re­al­ized that when lead­er­ship within schools is dis­trib­uted among a team of in­di­vid­u­als with dif­fer­ent skillsets and ex­pe­ri­ences but a shared mis­sion to spark and sus­tain a school-wide cul­ture of learn­ing and im­proved out­comes for stu­dents, lead­er­ship is most ef­fec­tive.

A pos­i­tive change through­out the school can be ex­pected with these types of in­struc­tional lead­er­ship teams. Is lead­er­ship be­ing dis­trib­uted in your school? What does it mean for your school? What are mea­sured and achieved when lead­er­ship is dis­trib­uted in school?

Dis­trib­uted lead­er­ship of­ten takes the form of an in­struc­tional lead­er­ship team within school. This team rep­re­sents the larger school com­mu­nity, and each team mem­ber is in­volved be­cause of their con­tent and ped­a­gog­i­cal ex­per­tise rather than their years of ex­pe­ri­ence or for­mal lead­er­ship role in the school.

Dis­trib­uted lead­er­ship teams take on sev­eral im­por­tant tasks in a school: sup­port­ing the de­vel­op­ment of high­qual­ity teach­ing by lead­ing con­tent-spe­cific, grade- level col­lab­o­ra­tive time; en­gag­ing teach­ers in cy­cles of ob­ser­va­tion, feed­back, and re­flec­tion to adapt and re­fine their in­struc­tion to meet their stu­dents’ needs; teach­ing and mod­el­ing how to ap­ply a con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment mind­set to teach­ing, learn­ing, and lead­ing; track­ing and mon­i­tor­ing stu­dent level data to en­sure school- wide stu­dent progress; and, pro­vid­ing other rel­e­vant job-em­bed­ded pro­fes­sional learn­ing sup­ports.

Prin­ci­pals and as­sis­tant prin­ci­pals are crit­i­cal to en­abling and sus­tain­ing the work of dis­trib­uted lead­er­ship teams. They do this by build­ing the lead­er­ship ca­pac­ity in the school and by creat­ing the con­di­tions where ex­per­tise can be spread across the school so that ev­ery­one can work in­di­vid­u­ally and col­lec­tively to im­prove out­comes for stu­dents.

Dis­trib­uted lead­er­ship is not about di­vid­ing tasks and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties among in­di­vid­u­als. In­stead, dis­trib­uted lead­er­ship is con­cerned with the in­ter­ac­tions among in­di­vid­u­als (lead­ers and those whom they lead) to drive in­struc­tional im­prove­ment and im­proved stu­dent out­comes through the de­vel­op­ment of high-qual­ity teach­ing and a cul­ture where all stu­dents can thrive.

It can be re­al­ized that from hun­dreds of ex­am­ples na­tion­wide that ex­tra­or­di­nary stu­dent out­comes are pos­si­ble at the in­di­vid­ual school level. These per­sis­tent rays of hope shine through even in the most chal­leng­ing of ed­u­ca­tional en­vi­ron­ments.

Break­through re­sults in stu­dent achieve­ment oc­cur when the sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges our stu­dents face are met with an even greater level of teacher tal­ent and ded­i­ca­tion—when tal­ented in­di­vid­u­als work to­gether to do ex­tra­or­di­nary things. Yet we also know that these kinds of schools don’t de­velop ran­domly on their own; an essen­tial in­gre­di­ent be­hind each of these suc­cess sto­ries is trans­for­ma­tional lead­er­ship.

The op­por­tu­nity is clear, this trans­for­ma­tional lead­er­ship, or this lead­er­ship that can make our world a far bet­ter place for our chil­dren can be highly sus­tained with dis­trib­uted lead­er­ship for one. We need to com­mit to mod­els of “dis­trib­uted lead­er­ship” in our schools that es­tab­lish a cadre of tal­ented ed­u­ca­tors in each build­ing who have end-to-end re­spon­si­bil­ity for the de­vel­op­ment of the teach­ers on their teams.

A grow­ing num­ber of schools are step­ping up to the chal­lenge and we’ve iden­ti­fied a set of best prac­tices that are start­ing to suc­ceed in the real world. Our most suc­cess­ful sys­tems are on a path to de­velop more trans­for­ma­tional lead­ers.

The next step is to put them in dis­trib­uted lead­er­ship mod­els that will en­able them to move far­ther and faster to trans­form their schools. ( Paid ar­ti­cle)

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